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Science is Not the End Point

Part of the Eco-Safe Ridge Mining project team.
Part of the Eco-Safe Ridge Mining project team.

As Norway has opened for seabed mineral activities, the results from the Eco-Safe Ridge Mining Project are very important. A key element moving forward is how to transfer science into policy, rules, and regulations.

The Eco-Safe Ridge Mining Project held a two-day annual meeting recently, to present results, discuss across the different activities as well as exploring new project possibilities.

Many Important and Good Discussions

A key point moving forward is how to apply and translate the science into regulations and thresholds. This could be challenging, and it is important to build upon existing frameworks and not “reinvent the wheel”.

The Eco-Safe project addresses key issues such as habitat mapping, ecosystem functioning, plume dispersal, ecotoxicology, connectivity and environmental risks.

Some key questions are what types of ecosystems require protection, is there a unique fauna associated with extinct hydrothermal vents and what impact can we expect beyond the mining site?

Based on this, efforts are focused on establishing threshold values and ensuring vulnerable and protected areas are not impacted beyond natural impact.

Possible Spin-off Activities

The Eco-Safe project will continue for another year, and the project is also looking into spin-off possibilities.

Several of the project partners are involved in an EU call for the Mining Impact III project, where Norway have set aside funding for research work on the Norwegian sector.

The University of Bergen has also initiated the work to establish a Centre for Research based Innovation (SFI) within deep sea exploration.

This is an eight-year programme, which will provide a great platform for long-term close collaboration between universities, research institutions, industry and the public sector.

Contact Information

Jon O. Hellevang

R&D Manager

Jon O. Hellevang


Eco-Safe Ridge Mining is a three-year competence building project coordinated by the University of Bergen.

The total budget is about 18 million NOK, where more than 13 million are granted by the Research Council of Norway.

The study area is the Arctic Mid-Ocean Ridge, where seafloor massive sulphide deposits containing strategic metals co-occur with vulnerable habitats such as hydrothermal vents and sponge grounds.

The project partners are the University of Bergen, NORCE, the University of Stavanger, the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), Equinor, GCE Ocean Technology, Offshore Norge, Loke Marine Minerals, Adepth Minerals and Aanderaa Data Instruments.